Keeping Pace and Enhancing Emergency Services

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The City of Redmond is seeking additional property taxes to fund new and traditional public safety services to support Redmond's future.

Through community feedback, including questionnaires, a variety of community meetings, and a volunteer Sounding Board, we have heard from hundreds of community members about safety needs and priorities in Redmond.

At their July 19 business meeting, members of the Redmond City Council voted five to two in support of adding a proposition to the November 8, 2022, King County election. With a majority vote, Councilmembers passed Resolution No. 1560, which places a proposition on the ballot to fund a comprehensive public safety program beginning in 2023.

Read below to learn more about the community feedback and review the Comprehensive Public Safety Plan.

The City of Redmond is seeking additional property taxes to fund new and traditional public safety services to support Redmond's future.

Through community feedback, including questionnaires, a variety of community meetings, and a volunteer Sounding Board, we have heard from hundreds of community members about safety needs and priorities in Redmond.

At their July 19 business meeting, members of the Redmond City Council voted five to two in support of adding a proposition to the November 8, 2022, King County election. With a majority vote, Councilmembers passed Resolution No. 1560, which places a proposition on the ballot to fund a comprehensive public safety program beginning in 2023.

Read below to learn more about the community feedback and review the Comprehensive Public Safety Plan.

  • What Did We Hear?

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    • Overall, we heard support for the plan, with all individual elements of the plan rated as a priority or high priority by 63% or more of respondents.
    • There is especially strong support for increasing the City’s mental health responders (70%) and increasing capacity for the Mobile Integrated Health program (75%).
    • Community members want to see staffing keep pace with Redmond’s growth and supported increasing Fire Department staffing (81%) and Police Department staffing (76%).
    • Community members also shared written comments that ranged from support of the Redmond Safety Funding Plan and mental health services in general, as well as some comments opposing the plan because of concerns about tax burden on property owners, and mixed support (some for, some against) of the body worn cameras.


    View the questionnaire results


  • How Did We Update the Plan?

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    After hearing from the Redmond community and our volunteer Sounding Board, we adjusted the plan to reflect community needs and priorities. Updates to the Comprehensive Public Safety Plan include:

    • Increasing the number of proposed mental health staff from one to six.
    • Exploring possible response models where mental health staff could respond to some 911 calls without a police co-responder.
    • Diversifying police responders to include both commissioned officers and civilian staff.
    • Slightly reducing the number of police responders and police support staff (IT, administrative, records) to provide more mental health responders without increasing the cost of the request.


  • Who Did We Hear From?

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    • Redmond’s Public Safety Community Sounding Board, a group of highly engaged volunteers convened in January 2022 to provide feedback through a series of focused discussions.
    • 400 Redmond registered voters via a statistically valid survey.
    • 260+ community members via a feedback period with online/paper/translated questionnaires open from March 21 through April 30, 2022.
    • 40 attendees at our hybrid (online/in-person) community meeting at City Hall on April 4, 2022.
    • Community-based organizations and city boards and committees.


  • Comprehensive Public Safety Plan: Keeping Pace and Enhancing Emergency Services

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    Redmond has grown, and it’s time for our fire and police services to catch up. With safety as one of our highest priorities, we need a responsive public safety system that understands and can meet the needs of our evolving city.

    IN THE PLAN: Retaining critical staff working to keep us safe, $3.5 million

    • The 2007 property tax levy approved by voters included funding for 18 firefighters (enough to staff two additional aid cars) and 17 police personnel.
    • Revenue from the levy by law has only grown 1% every year, while expenses have increased approximately 5% every year, rapidly outpacing revenue.
    • This new plan includes $3.5 million to ensure we can retain those firefighters and police positions.

    IN THE PLAN: Hiring more police personnel to keep pace with growth and maintain the highest level of safety and security, $1.98 million

    • In the last 10 years, Redmond has grown by 20,000 residents – but police staffing has remained flat.
    • We do not have an adequate number of on-duty officers to ensure our Police Department can continue to respond quickly in times of emergency and maintain the safety of our rapidly growing communities. We also need to hire support staff to ensure officers can focus on their job of keeping people safe and responding to calls.
    • This new plan includes funding to hire 12 additional commissioned and civilian police responders.

    IN THE PLAN: Increasing Police Department transparency and accountability with body worn cameras, $935,000

    • Law enforcement agencies throughout the country are using body worn cameras to promote public accountability and increase transparency in interactions between officers and community members.
    • This new plan includes funding to cover the ongoing needs for staffing, training, technology services, records management, public disclosure, and court case preparation.

    IN THE PLAN: Growing successful partnerships with the Mental Health Professional co-responder, $688,000

    • Our Police Department has one Mental Health Professional (MHP) who teams up with police officers to co-respond to calls.
    • Redmond Police currently receives more calls than a single MHP can support. This new plan provides funding to hire six additional mental health responders to respond with police officers, de-escalate interactions, handle crisis intervention, and help people experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, and substance abuse, and connects them with the right services. A non-police “community response” component will be included.

    IN THE PLAN: Expanding coverage for fire services in northeast and southeast Redmond, $2.9 million

    • Redmond’s Fire Department protects over $30 billion in property value, and they do it with only two fire engines.
    • Station 16 in southeast Redmond and Station 17 in northeast Redmond currently do not have enough personnel to staff a fire engine, called an “engine company.” This new plan includes funding to hire enough firefighters to provide engine companies – fully staffed fire engines – to both Station 16 and Station 17, doubling Redmond’s fire suppression capacity, ensuring all of our communities have strong emergency service response, including the growing areas of northeast and southeast Redmond.

    IN THE PLAN: Expanding Mobile Integrated Health to help people in crisis, $360,000

    • The Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program is a cost-effective way to increase the reliability of Redmond’s emergency resources while addressing community needs. It includes EMTs, paramedics, social workers, and mental health and substance abuse professionals who work to better understand the situation and address 911 callers’ needs and concerns, connect people to services, intervene in crises, and provide home safety inspections to help reduce injuries, which lowers trips to the emergency room.
    • The program is currently available for only 40 hours a week – far less than what is needed. This new plan includes funding to increase staffing and operate the MIH program 12 hours per day, every day – more than doubling the weekly hours.

    How would the plan affect staffing?

    This plan would increase the overall city FTEs including:

    • Police = 14% increase - from 127 to 145 FTEs
    • Fire = 11% increase – from 164 to 182 FTEs
    • MIH = 100% increase – from 1 to 2 FTEs
    • MHP = 600% increase – from 1 to 7 FTEs
  • Redmond is a Growing Community

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    Community safety is vital to ensuring a strong economy and thriving community for all. In the past decade, Redmond has grown significantly, and Fire and Police Department calls have also increased in that time.

    While this growth brings exciting changes to Redmond, like light rail and a strong customer base for our small businesses, it also changes how we respond to emergencies. With taller buildings, more people, and a community calling for alternative approaches, we need a responsive and transparent public safety system that keeps pace with Redmond’s growing needs, while ensuring we have enough emergency responders to maintain the safety of our communities.

    To achieve this, the City is asking voters to increase their property taxes to cover the gap between existing revenue and current city needs, as well as increase the capacity of in-demand services, such as the Mental Health Response and Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) programs and fund more personnel to maintain speedy fire and police response.



  • About the 2007 Levy

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    A significant investment that has contributed to Redmond’s strong emergency services system is a property tax levy approved by voters in 2007. For more than a decade, this levy has provided essential support in keeping our Fire and Police Departments staffed, including funding for 18 firefighters and 17 police personnel.

    However, over the last 15 years the purchasing power of the levy has decreased over time. Revenue from the levy by law can only grow 1% every year – but expenses have increased approximately 5% every year, rapidly outpacing revenue. The 2007 levy can no longer support the same services it once did. Our growing community and evolving public safety needs require additional investments now to ensure a safe and supportive system for everyone.


  • How Much Will It Cost?

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    Thanks to community investments in our safety system’s staffing and resources, we’ve maintained a high level of service when it comes to our Fire Department, Police Department, and other emergency services. To ensure we can continue to meet our community’s needs, we need to act now.

    The proposed plan will:

    • Cost the typical Redmond household approximately $30.50 a month, or $366 dollars a year, based on the average Redmond 2021 home assessed value of one million dollars, plus an estimated annual inflationary increase for six years.

    • Generate $10.4 million per year to cover the existing funding gap and fund critical programs.

    • Be paid for through a property tax increase of $0.366 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

    The current property tax rate from the 2007 levy is $0.995 of assessed valuation. If proposition 1 is approved by voters, the new total levy property tax rate would be $1.361 of assessed valuation, a 37% increase.

    The actual dollars currently collected from the 2007 levy is $30.3M per year. With the additional levy, the new total tax collected would be $40.7M per year, a 34% increase.



  • About the Community Sounding Board

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    In addition to engaging the community in this discussion, the City formed a volunteer community Sounding Board to provide feedback on the Comprehensive Public Safety Plan and help us better understand the community’s priorities and values around public safety services.

    The goal of this group was to engage in focused discussions with community members from a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds and collectively provide input, feedback, and recommendations over seven meetings. Meetings included presentations from Redmond’s Fire and Police Chiefs, priority ranking exercises, and in-depth discussions and Q&A around the City’s emergency services, plan components, community needs, potential funding mechanisms, and the cost of the plan.

    Sounding Board members included LouAnn Ballew, Roy Captain, Dr. Neelam Chahlia, Doug Fischels, Joy Randall, Larry Gilmore, Lindsay Graves, Jennifer Karls, Cecilia Martinez-Vasquez, and Hank Margeson.

    Meeting documents are available under the “Sounding Board Document Library” section.



Page last updated: 23 Sep 2022, 02:31 PM